Broll stalks the African property market

South African property services group, Broll, has taken a giant leap across the north of Limpopo River by expanding its African network from five at the beginning of the year to 15. Broll’s African network is set to grow further.

Broll recently launched offices in Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and Rwanda and said it was set to open an office in Kenya before the end of the year. This came to add to the group’s presence in major African economic centers including Ghana and Nigeria.

Broll’s expansion can be seen as part of a scramble by South African corporations to secure a spot within the growing African economies. Following years of talk and sprinkles of expansion commercial actors from Africa’s largest economy seems to have entered a renewed and braver phase of northwards ventures. This was confirmed in the 2013 Ernst & Young Africa investment survey which showed that South Africa is at the forefront of continental investment trends and more focused on the emerging service economy. South African commercial property developers like Atterbury have taken prominent position in this trend.

Malcolm Horne, CEO of Broll, says: “There’s been a positive shift in investors’ attitudes to the fortunes of the African continent. More and more multinational companies are tapping into sub-Saharan Africa’s fast-growing consumer markets and Broll is positioning itself as a service provider of choice operating across Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He adds: “The lack of a formalised approach to property management and maintenance in many African countries opened the door for Broll to replicate its South African offering elsewhere on the continent. With our new African offices, Broll will bring its specialised services and unique capabilities to these markets. With more multi-national companies interested in Africa, professional leasing and corporate real estate services are making inroads into previously undeveloped markets.”

Broll’s assets under management recently exceeded R60 billion, of which R12 billion is outside the borders of South Africa.

Leonard Michau, Director responsible for Africa at Broll said “The growth story of sub-Saharan Africa is a compelling one. Advancing infrastructure development, impressive demographics, the telecommunications revolution, improving political stability, sound macroeconomic policies and deregulating industries across the continent is all driving greater investment in Africa.”

In April 2013, Broll opened its Rwanda office in Kigali. Established as a joint venture with the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Broll Rwanda manages a property portfolio of some $50 million. RSSB provides a comprehensive social security system that gives retirement benefits to workers in the formal and informal sector.

Broll Indian Ocean opened in March this year with its base in Mauritius also covering the territories of Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion Island. Michau said Broll has its sights set on Madagascar.

Broll Indian Ocean is a joint venture with Mauritius players Tinkler and Ramlackhan, a property valuations, advisory and broking firm with over 25 years experience.

“Our partners focus on residential estate asset management services. With Broll on board the range of services will expand to include property and facility management services,” said Michau.

Broll said it was scheduled to open an office in Nairobi in August. Michau said  “Kenya is the economic hub of East Africa. It simply can’t be ignored. It has sound macroeconomic and political policy in place. Many corporate companies and organisations are locating their African head offices in Nairobi. We’ve already got great relationships with several local clients through our South African business which provides advisory and broking services to the local market.”

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